The Clothing Industry
The following is a brand equity analysis
of the clothing brands Reformation and H&M.
H&M sales has drastically decreased over the last few years (Hanbury, 2018), during the same time Reformation has experienced massive growth (Robinson, 2018). In the following a SWOT and CBBE analysis will be conducted for each brand to shed light on their individual brand equity.
Who is Reformation?
Reformation is California based sustainable fashion label for women. It started as a an online shop that can be accessed from any geographical location, but is not adjusted to local cultural contexts. The brand has recently launched “real” stores in selected cities in the US (thereformation.com).
Reformation is about fit, ethics and hip communication. Their stores include a wardrobe where the customers selected items “magically” appear and interactive screens with messages such as “I like to be touched”.
H&M - the industry giant
H&M is so well know, they don’t have a “who are we” page on their website. The Swedish clothing brand has stores in 62 countries and ships from their online shop to 33 countries through websites adjusted to the individual cultural context.
H&M has done collaboration labels with several celebrities and designers, their lines include a high-end H&M Trend line, a lower-end H&M Divided line and a sustainable H&M Conscious line.
Consumer Based Brand Equity
CBBE – H&M
H&M has extremely strong salience, but suffers from the imagery, judgement and feelings connected to the brand. The focus on sale and suffiency in stores has landed the giant retailer in an unfavorable position with its customers, where they know what to expect and are not exited about the brand.
H&M is there for you, but you’d probably prefer to go somewhere else.
H&M is familiar and easy, but not exiting.
Cheap, unorganized, poor service, you don’t buy H&M for the brand,
but for the price.
Common, for everyone, red sale signs, messy stores.
Affordable and accessible products of medium to poor quality sold in an environment based on fast sales and low costs.
H&M is global and very well known for wide variety and ongoing sales.
CBBE – Reformation
Reformation could be stronger on the bottom part of Kellers pyramid - salience. The brand is not as well known as it could be. However, the brand resonates well in the minds of the consumer when it comes to imagery and feelings. It seems that the brand has successfully positioned itself as ethical and in tune with the young, hip fashionista.
As the name implies, you’re part of a exclusive movement.
Customers feel unique and well treated, while also doing good for the environment.
There is a high level of uniqueness to the products and the overall brand narrative.
Reformation is exclusive, green, hip and innovative.
Sustainable, high quality products and impeccable service focused on consumer needs. Price matches quality.
Reformation is a young brand, but in a niche market very well known.
Not many, but both brands are communicating to young women...
Two different narratives
Two different SWOT's
in communicating brand narrative
potential for growth
When assessing the brand equity of H&M and Reformation we are dealing with two very different brand narratives. H&M is older, larger and holds a far more unmanageable brand narrative than Reformation, who has only just invented itself. However, one might wonder if H&M has sinned in an almost Nokia-like manner and gotten comfortable from years of increasing sales and therefore have forgotten to reinvent themselves and look towards future trends. Meanwhile Reformation is benefitting from being a novelty and being in line with current trends, but this could easily wear of in the future.
In the future H&M might want to jump aboard the customer experience train and create unique experiences, that can help them stay top of mind. This can be achieved by looking to brands such as reformation for inspiration when it comes to online presence and use of innovative technology.
The equity of the Reformation brand has consistently grown stronger since its lauch, but there is no telling whether or not the sustainable approach will last. Expanding the variety of clothing to appeal to more customers or even expanding the target audience could be a way forward for Reformation – as long as the feeling of uniqueness and exclusivity is not lost.
• Chaykowski, K. (2017). Forbes. This Model Turned CEO Is Betting ‘Bricks And Clicks’ Can Create A Green Fast-Fashion Empire. Located on the 24th of March at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2017/10/03/this-model-turned-ceo-is-betting-bricks-and-clicks-will-make-reformation-a-green-fashion-empire/#3a0362202791
• Chopping, D. (2017). MarketWatch. H&M sales down as store visits decline. Located on the 24th of March at: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/hm-sales-down-as-store-visits-decline-2017-12-15
•Hanbury, M. (2018). Business Insider. We visited an H&M store and saw everything that’s wrong with the brand. Located on the 22nd of March at: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-hm-business-is-struggling-photos-2018-1/?r=AU&IR=T
• Holt, E. (2015). Vogue. Meet the Woman Behind Cool Ethical Label Reformation. Located on the 20th of March at: https://www.vogue.com/article/reformation-eco-fashion-ethical-label
• Keller, K. (2001). Building customer-based brand equity: A blueprint for creating strong brands,
Located on the 19th of March at: http://anandahussein.lecture.ub.ac.id/files/2015/09/article-4.pdf
• Robinson, M. (2018). Business Insider Australia. This apparel startup in the US fixed the worst part of shopping for clothes in stores – and it could defy retail’s curse. Located on the 22nd of march at: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-reformation-clothing-stores-beat-online-shopping-2018-1?r=US&IR=T